Sunday’s Live Updates: NAPA Super DIRT Week Finale At The Fairgrounds
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Oct. 11, 2015 – The long, epic motorsports history of the New York State Fairgrounds one-mile dirt oval comes to an end today with the Finale at the Fairgrounds topped by the 44th annual Syracuse 200 Big-Block Modified spectacular. Click the ‘read more’ link below and refresh your browser regularly throughout the remainder of the day for the latest updates and results.
One more Syracuse 200 for Friesen
No one hates to see the end of the one-mile New York State Fairgounds oval more than Stewart Friesen.
The 32-year-old Canadian who now lives in Sprakers, N.Y., closed the venerable track’s rich motorsports history on Sunday by putting his name in the conversation of best to ever tour the speedway, winning the 44th annual Syracuse 200 Big-Block Modified spectacular for the fourth time in the last six years.
Friesen made his winning move on lap 174, charging around the outside of Waterloo, N.Y.’s Matt Sheppard rounding turns three and four to assume command for good. He was never seriously challenged during the 23-lap run of green-flag racing that concluded an event that was plagued by 20 caution flags.
Kenny Tremont of West Sand Lake, N.Y., chased Friesen after sliding past Jimmy Phelps of Baldwinsville, N.Y., for second place on lap 178 and closed to within five car lenths of Friesen’s car entering turn one on the final lap, but the 1999 event winner lost ground clearing a lapped car between the corners and crossed the finish line 1.019 seconds behind the victor.
Phelps settled for a third-place finish 24 hours after scoring his first-ever feature win at the Syracuse Mile in the Salute to the Troops 358-Modified Championship 150. Six-time Syracuse 200 champion Brett Hearn of Sussex, N.J., climbed as high as third after making a late pit stop on lap 113 but couldn’t maintain his speed and finished fourth, and four-time race winner Billy Decker of Unadilla, N.Y., finished fifth after rallying from a problem that caused him to slow and bring out a caution flag on lap 92 while running fourth.
Click here to see the complete order of finish for the Syracuse 200.
Syracuse 200 updates
Finish (6:48 p.m.): Friesen holds on, winning the Syracuse 200 for the fourth time. Tremont made a run on the final lap entering turn one, but he lost too much traction clearing a lapped car between the corners and Friesen drove to the $50,000 victory.
Lap 190: Friesen still maintaining about a 10 car-length edge over Tremont … much farther back are Phelps, Hearn and Decker.
Lap 185: Tremont keeping Friesen within 10 car lengths … Phelps farther back in third, followd by Hearn and Decker. Sixth-place Dunn pressured Decker for several laps but has lost ground.
Lap 178: Right back to caution for the 20th time (Duane Howard slows with a right-front flat) after a lap-177 restart … Tremont grabbed second from Phelps before the yellow flew on lap 178; with only green-flag laps now counting, Friesen leads Tremont, Phelps, Hearn, Decker, Tomkins, Cozze, Dunn, McCreadie and Ward.
Lap 174: After shooting inside Phelps to take second in three and four on lap 173, Friesen powered around the outside of Sheppard in three and four to grab the lead on on L174. Sheppard’s motor began sputtering, though, causing him to drop off the pace. .. then the 19th caution flag flew on lap 177 for Britten in the turn-one wall. With only green laps counting now, Friesen leads Phelps, Tremont, Hearn, Decker, Tomkins, Cozze, Dunn, Sheppard and McCreadie.
Lap 169: Ronnie Johnson stops between turns one and two, bringing out the 18th caution. On the brief three-lap run after the restart, Friesen shot past Hearn into turn one when the green flag flew for third place and Tremont overtook Hearn for fourth just before the caution flew. Sheppard now leads Phelps, Friesen, Tremont and Hearn — and on lap 175, cautions will stop counting for the remainder of the distance. Sheppard and Phelps must go 127 laps on a tank of fuel, but with the great number of caution laps since they pitted they certainly haven’t had to use as much as normal.
Lap 163: And the 17th caution flies for a homestretch scrape that sends Rich Scagliotta spinning in the dust … Sheppard leads Phelps, Hearn, Friesen, Cozze, Tremont, Decker, Tomkins, Laubach, McCreadie, Ward, Fuller, Dunn, Howard, Haers, Horton …
Lap 160: Right back to yellow for the 16th time as Pierre Hebert needs assistance in T/3 on restart … no change in running order.
Lap 156: The cautions just keep coming — Mat Williamson slows through turns one and two to bring out the 15th of the race. He was contending for a top-five finish when he ran into trouble; he pulled behind pit wall after his crew looked over his car. A handful of cars pitted on lap 158, including Ronnie Johnson, Marshall and Heffner … Sheppard leads Phelps, Hearn, Friesen and Cozze …
Lap 155: After a lap-152 restart, on the move are Hearn and Friesen … Hearn shot by Cozze for third on the restart, and Friesen broke into fourth on lap 154.
Lap 147: The 14th caution flies for Eldon Payne’s stopped car in turn three … Sheppard leads Phelps, Cozze, Hearn, Williamson, Friesen, Laubach, Tremont, Decker, Tomkins, Heffner, McCreadie, Marshall, Ward, Fuller, Dunn, Haers, Howard, Horton, Ronnie Johnson …
Lap 140: After lap 138 restart, Hearn blasts into fifth place (he restarted ninth) .. he last pitted on lap 113; cars ahead of him have pitted on lap 73 (Sheppard, Phelps, Cozze) and 95 (Williamson) …
Lap 132: Caution again for Danny Johnson and Rockefeller in a tangle between turns three and four … Sheppard leads Phelps, Cozze, Heffner, Williamson, Laubach, Friesen, Decker, Hearn, Marshall, McCreadie, Ward, Tomkins, Haers, Horton, Dunn, Bachetti, Howard ….
Lap 125: Yet another caution, this one for Danny Johnson slowing with a left-front flat tire. Sheppard sets the pace over Phelps, Cozze, Heffner and Laubach; the top five drivers all pitted last on lap 73, so they’ll have to go 127 laps on fuel to make finish — but remember, only green-flag laps count for the last 25 circuits, so it could be a gamble for them. Sixth-place Mat Williamson is the first driver in line who pitted later (lap 95).
Lap 117: After getting out of the pits first on lap 113, Dunn slows to bring out a caution flag and pits. Sheppard leads Phelps, Cozze, Heffner, Laubach, Marshall, Williamson, Decker, Friesen, McCreadie, Tremont, Haers, Ward, Bachetti, Hearn, Horton …
Lap 111: The race’s 10th caution flag flies as Godown stops in turn one; a safety truck pushes his powerless car off the track. Meanwhile, Blaney pulls into pits with obvious problems and sits on pit road losing laps as contenders pit, including (order of return to track) Dunn, Howard, Hearn, Britten, Fuller, Sears, Danny Johnson and Hebert; Ronnie Johnson made a pit stop on lap 114. Sheppard inherited the lead and heads to restart ahead of Phelps, Heffner, Cozze and Laubach.
Lap 108: Dunn making up ground, passes both Cozze and Heffner with outside power move through turns one and two to reach seventh.
Lap 103: Heading pitside for service were (in order back on track) Ronnie Johnson (was fourth), Ward, Ferrier and Horton … Coffey pitted but the apparent clutch problems prevented him from refiring and his crew pushed his car behind pit wall; he reported by radio that he had no high gear.
Lap 101: Caution flies for the ninth time after Swarthout slows in turn three … at lap 100, the running order was Fuller, Hearn, Sheppard, Ronnie Johnson, Phelps, Howard, Tremont, Heffner, Cozze, Tomkins, Laubach, Godown, Dunn, Marshall and Britten; a total of 31 cars were on the lead lap.
Lap 92: Caution needed for Decker, who pulled up lame at the end of the homestretch while running fourth and slowed nearly to a stop in the second corner. He picked up the pace after the caution came out and pitted on lap 95 with the pits were opened; others coming in on lap 95 — likely looking to go the distance from here — were (in order back on track) Ward, Blaney, McCreadie, Haers, Williamson, Danny Johnson, Friesen and Decker. Fuller remains on top over Hearn, Sheppard, Ronnie Johnson and Howard….
Lap 87: Sheppard gets a great restart, vaulting from fifth to third by Ronnie Johnson and Decker by turn two.
Lap 81: The race restarted but immediately went back to yellow-flag conditions due to a three-car tangle in turn two involving Rick Scagliotta, Jimmy Maier and Bob McGannon. During caution, both Bachetti (third place) and Dunn (fifth place) pit on lap 84, leaving Fuller in front over Hearn, Ronnie Johnson, Decker and Sheppard.
Lap 78: One circuit after going back green, Mark Forte Jr. limped to a stop in turn one to bring out the race’s sixth caution flag. Fuller will lead the field to the restart over Hearn, Bachetti, Ronnie Johnson and Dunn.
Lap 69: Caution for Keith Flach stopped on the outside of turns three and four ends long green-flag stretch; he pulls to pit road with front-end damage. …the caution leads to a flurry of pit activity on lap 73; Dunn was first out of pits, followed ward, Decker, Friesen, Howard, Sheppard, Heffner, Cozze, Phelps, Williamson, Tomkins, Blaney, Marshall, Tremont, Godown, Scagliotta, Swarthout, McGannon, Laubach, McCreadie, Horton and others … last out was Haers, whose crew was seen working under the car. Fuller will lead field to green on restart over Bachetti, Hearn, Ronnie Johnson and Dunn (first out of pits) …
Lap 63: Dunn finally clears Danny Johnson to lap the two-time 200 champ and immediately stretches advantage with two lapped cars (D.J. and Coffey) between himself and second-place Friesen … Ward, Decker and Howard complete top five.
Lap 58: Friesen overtakes Ward for second and chases after Dunn, who is struggling trying to lap Danny Johnson.
Lap 55: 15-year-old Tyler Dippel pulls onto pit road under green; his front end was damaged, making it difficult for him to steer to his pit stall.
Lap 47: Dunn grabs the lead after charging to the inside of turn one to overtake Wight, who tried to fight back on the outside of turn three with a lapped car ahead of Dunn but couldn’t pull it off. Moments later, Wight slowed on the homestretch and pulled off the track in turn one.
Lap 37: Several drivers make their first pit stop, including Hearn, Cozze, Coffey, Laubach and Danny Johnson. … Coffey spent extra time on pit road with his crew working underneath the car and the team members had to push his machine to get it started (reports indicate he might be experiencing clutch problems). … Wight leads Dunn, Ward, Friesen and Sheppard.
Lap 34: One lap after a restart, the caution returns for the fourth time as Dominick Buffalino ends up sitting on the inside of the homestretch. He headed into the pits immediately for work on the front end of his car. Meanwhile, Terrance headed back to the pits for work on his car’s front end.
Lap 31: Several drivers make pit stops, including Tremont, Ronnie Johnson, Heffner, Dippel, Fuller, Bachetti, Rockefeller, McGannon and Terrance, who made a long stop after slowing to bring out the caution.
Lap 27: Caution is needed for Terrance, who slowed on the homestretch after losing third to Ward.
Lap 24: After Terrance slipped ahead to lead lap 23, Weight charges back into the top spot on the 24th circuit with a move in lapped traffic. One circuit later, on lap 25, Dunn passed Terrance for second.
Lap 20: Wight settles in with short lead over Terrance … followed by Dunn, Ward, Friesen, Sheppard, Decker, Hearn, Tremont and Howard.
Lap 10: Caution comes out for Jessey Mueller, who needs wrecker service after getting into the wall between turns three and four. Top five remains the same — Wight, Terrance, Dunn, Ward and Friesen — while 6-10 is Sheppard, Decker, Hearn, Tremont and Howard.
Lap 4: First caution flag flies for a car slowing on the bottom of turn three … apparently Eldon Payne, who rolls onto pit road. Wight has early lead over Carey Terrance, Billy Dunn, Pat Ward and Stewart Friesen.
Lap 1: Larry Wight leads the way …
3:25 p.m.: The Finale at the Fairgrounds goes green ….
3:05 p.m.: The engines have fired and cars are pulling on the track for pace laps …
2:50 p.m. — Driver introductions have been completed and a group photo of the 44 starters was taken on the stage … drivers are now headed to their cars to buckle in.
2:35 p.m. — The countdown to the start of the Syracuse has begun. The special ceremony honoring the past Syracuse 200 champions and their representatives was just completed and the driver introductions are about to begin.
Marotta’s Moody Mile memory
The demise of the one-mile New York State Fairgrounds after today’s racing program certainly is an emotional moment for longtime DIRTcar announcer Joe Marotta (photo below), who saw his first race here in 1949 (a Champ Car event with his father), called his first race at the venerable track in 1970 and has been on the microphone for all 44 editions of NAPA Super DIRT Week — including, of course, this week’s action.
Marotta was gazing over the jam-packed Fairgrounds moments ago from his perch in the tower and mused about the track’s fate.
“Why?” Marotta asked, not expecting an answer. “Look at all those campers and cars and people. Why does it have to go?”
Marotta has many Syracuse Mile memories, including one of the iconic moments in the speedway’s history. He was, of course, the guy who first called the track the ‘Moody Mile’ on the public address system — and not everyone today knows why the place got that nickname.
It was the Labor Day Modified race in 1970 and Marotta was announcing for the first time at Syracuse. He recalls timing guys with his stopwatch during the day’s practice sessions when he focused in on one particular car driven by Wes Moody, a racer from from New York’s Northcountry.
“I saw this old Couple zooming around out there and I thought, That car looks fast,” Marotta said of Moody. “So I started timing him with my stopwatch. I knew that 36 seconds (a lap) was a 100 miles-an-hour average, and I started getting him at 35.8, 35.9, so I said he had broken 100 miles an hour.”
Moody had become the first Modified driver clocked at a 100-mph average speed, and the news spread through the pit area.
“I was walking through the pits and I saw Dave Wright from Gater Racing News and he said, ‘It’s the Moody Mile now,'” Marotta said. “So I went up (in the announcer’s booth that was then in the infield) and I started calling it that.”
The Moody Mile moniker, of course, stuck for all time after that. Moody, who is now 74 and is serving as the pace car driver this week, gained a dose of Syracuse immortality.
As a sidelight, Marotta said that some years later he gave the stopwatch he used to time Moody’s historic circuits to Moody’s daughter, who then presented it to Moody as a Christmas present. Marotta said Moody called him afterward and was very emotional about his unexpected gift.
Yetman does it again
2:10 p.m. — Rob Yetman of Castleton, N.Y., continued his stranglehold on the DIRTcar Pro Stock Championship 25, but his third consecutive victory in the event did not come easily.
After cruising out front off the pole position for much of the distance, Yetman found himself hanging on for dear life in the final laps when Francois Adam of St-Pie, Que., suddenly moved in to offer a challenge. Adam was able to sneak ahead of Yetman to lead lap 24, but Yetman stayed on Adam’s outside through turns one and two and used a lapped car as a pick off the second corner to regain command.
Yetman’s $2,000 triumph came in his 12th career start in the Pro Stock event. Adam, meanwhile, fell short of hitting paydirt in his fifth career event appearance, though with a runner-up performance he did register his third straight top-five finish after placing fourth in 2013 and fifth in ’14.
The complete order of finish can be seen here.
James Michael Friesen captures Sportsman 30
1:45 p.m. — James Michael Friesen of St. Catharines, Ont., became the third member of the Friesen to reach victory lane at the Syracuse with a flag-to-flag triumph in the DIRTcar Sportsman Championship 30.
The son of Ransomville (N.Y.) Speedway co-promoter Joel Friesen, James Michael joined his cousin Stewart Friesen (three-time Syracuse 200 champion, among other ‘Cuse honors) and late uncle Alex Friesen (1996 Big-Block Non-Qualifiers’ Race) as a victor at the historic track.
Friesen, whose only previous start in the Sportsman Championship 30 produced a 17th-place finish in 2008, jumped into the lead from his third starting spot on the opening circuit of the feature and never looked back. He crossed the finish li ne 1.267 seconds in front of Gloversville, N.Y.’s Rocky Warner for the $4,000 top prize.
Warner, who won the Syracuse Pro Stock event in 2010 and ’11 and the Sportsman headliner in ’12, appeared primed to challenge for another win after slipping into second on lap-17 restart and being deposited on Friesen’s rear bumper by a caution flag on lap 22. But Friesen pulled away from Warner in the final circuits to take the checkered flag first.
The complete order of finish can be seen here.
Sportsman feature time
12:35 p.m. — The DIRTcar Sportsman Championship 30 began moments ago (a pace lap pictured below); the first two starts were aborted by a car that ended up on the homestretch’s inside berm and then a jump-start.
Last laps for Big-Blocks
12:20 p.m. — The final practice session for the Big-Block Modifieds ended moments ago, setting the stage for the afternoon’s three features (in order, Sportsman, Pro Stocks and the Syracuse 200).
Syracuse 200 polesitter Larry Wight turned the fastest lap in the final practice, circling the oval in 32.313 seconds. Rick Laubach was second-fastest (32.531), Ronnie Johnson (32.591), Tim McCreadie (32.651) and Stewart Friesen (32.674).
Three drivers in the 200’s starting field — Billy Dunn, Jimmy Phelps and Gary Tomkins — apparently did not have transponders on their cars for hot laps and thus did not show up on the speed charts.
The 36-car DIRTcar Sportsman Championship 30 feature is currently aligning on pit road and will hit the track momentarily.
Last Chance Race Results
12:05 p.m. — Finishes from Sunday’s Sportsman and Pro Stock Last Chance Races …
First Sportsman Last Chance Race Finish (10 laps; top 6 transfer): 1. Jessica Power, 2. Louie Jackson Jr., 3. Sandy Pembleton, 4. A.J. Lloyd, 5. Aaron Pugh, 6. Chris Curtis, 7. Cody Clark, 8. Matt Hitchcock, 9. Robert Bublak, 10. Tiger Chapman, 11. Martin Hebert, 12. Tristan Draper, 13. Greg Martin, 14. Matt Steffenhagen, 15. Matt Smith, 16. Chad Edwards, 17. Gilles Godard, 18. Chris Cunningham, 19. Mike DuBois, 20. Brian Hilz, 21. Steve Abt, 22. Randy Miller.
Second Sportsman Last Chance Race Finish (10 laps; top 6 transfer): 1. Brianna Ladouceur, 2. Dave Marcuccilli, 3. Tyler Meeks, 4. Frank Holmes, 5. Aaron Jacobs, 6. Brian Papiez, 7. Connor Cleveland, 8. Kyle Inman, 9. John Virgillio, 10. Chris Kokosa, 11. Scott Duell, 12. Whitey Slavin, 13. Joel Hearne, 14. Connor Dawdy, 15. Matt Guererri, 16. Dave Conant Jr., 17. Alissa Cody, 18. Jim Morton, 19. Carl R. Inman, 20. Steven Lewis Jr., 21. Nick Webb, 22. Mike Butler, 23. John Behron.
Third Sportsman Last Chance Race Finish (10 laps; top 6 transfer): 1. John Sowle, 2. Michael Sabia, 3. Mike Stacey, 4. Alex Lajoie, 5. Nick Krause, 6. Eric Giguere, 7. Brandon Sweet, 8. John McAuliffe, 9. Moise Page, 10. Kyle Wilson, 11. Dave Constantino, 12. Scott Hitchens, 13. Jamie Platt, 14. Taylor Lamb, 15. James Henry, 16. Brian Pessolano, 17. Earl Rudy, 18. Diana Huyck, 19. Brian Krummel, 20. Ricky Thompson, 21. Brad Alger, 22. Austin Smith, 23. Kris VanNorstrand.
Pro Stock Last Chance Race Finish (8 laps; top 6 transfer): 1. Bill Knapp, 2. Randy Cosselman, 3. Ed Thompson, 4. Dave Rogers, 5. Russ Marsden, 6. Chuck Towslee, 7. Jay Casey, 8. Gus Hollner, 9. Ricky Achzet, 10. Mike Welch, 11. Jim Normolye, 12. Bob Andrews, 13. Rick Dempsey, 14. Dan Wood, 15. Justin Knight, 16. Dan Older, 17. Joe LaFlame, 18. Eli Gilbert, 19. Steve Pesarek, 20. James Dellea III, 21. Pascal Payuer, 22. Joel Murns, 23. Jocelyn Chicoine.
10:50 a.m. — With fans streaming into the Fairgrounds in droves on a brilliantly sunny day that will see temperatures reach 70 degrees, the on-track competition is already underway with the three Sportsman Last Chance Races that were held-over from Saturday’s schedule.
Sunday’s Feature Lineups
Big-Block Modified Syracuse 200 Starting Lineup
Row 1: Larry Wight, Stewart Friesen
Row 2: Carey Terrance, Billy Dunn
Row 3: Pat Ward, Matt Sheppard
Row 4: Billy Decker, Brett Hearn
Row 5: Kenny Tremont, Jimmy Phelps
Row 6: Keith Flach, Tim McCreadie
Row 7: Vic Coffey, Duane Howard
Row 8: Frank Cozze, Jimmy Horton
Row 9: J.R. Heffner, John Ferrier
Row 10: Ronnie Johnson, Mat Williamson
Row 11: Rick Laubach, Dominick Buffalino
Row 12: Tim Fuller, Dave Blaney
Row 13: Eddie Marshall, Justin Haers
Row 14: Pierre Hebert, Rob Bellinger
Row 15: Danny Johnson, Rich Scagliotta
Row 16: Jessey Mueller, Eldon Payne
Row 17: Tyler Dippel, Andy Bachetti
Row 18: Ryan Godown, Gary Tomkins
Row 19: Peter Britten, Brian Swarthout
Row 20: Mark Forte Jr., Jeff Rockefeller
Row 21: Tom Sears Jr., Bob McGannon
Row 22: Jimmy Maier, Steve Paine
DIRTcar Sportsman Championship 30 Lineup
Row 1: Shane Pecore, Jim Spellmon
Row 2: James Michael Friesen, Ron Davis III
Row 3: Joey Ladouceur, Brian Murphy
Row 4: Jesse Coteries, Jeremy Pitts
Row 5: Chris Thurston, Rocky Warner
Row 6: Adam McAulliffe, Corey Wheeler
Row 7: Dan Kapuscinski, Brad Rouse
Row 8: Taylor Caprara, Cody Bleau
Row 9: Sammy Reakes Jr., Andrew Wren
Row 10: Jessica Power, Brianna Ladouceur
Row 11: John Sowle, Louie Jackson
Row 12: Dave Marcuccilli, Michael Sabia
Row 13: Sandy Pembleton, Tyler Meeks
Row 14: Mike Stacey, A.J. Lloyd
Row 15: Frank Holmes, Alex Lajoie
Row 16: Aaron Pugh, Aaron Jacobs
Row 17: Nick Krause, Chris Curtis
Row 18: Brian Papiez, Eric Giguere
DIRTcar Pro Stock Championship 25 Lineup
Row 1: Rob Yetman, Nick Stone
Row 2: Francois Adam, Luke Horning
Row 3: P.J. Peters, Dave Bissonnette
Row 4: Chuck Dumblonski, Glenn Forward
Row 5: Jay Corbin, Sean Corr
Row 6: Robbie Speed, Pete Stefanski
Row 7: Jocelyn Roy, Chad Arsenault
Row 8: Jason Casey, Kim Duell
Row 9: Sid Harner Jr., Roch Aubin
Row 10: Jonathan Routhier, Kenny Martin Jr.
Row 11: Dean Charbonneau, Guy Viens
Row 12: Nick Hilt, Stephane Lebrun
Row 13: Bill Knapp, Randy Cosselman
Row 14: Ed Thompson, Dave Rogers
Row 15: Russ Marsden, Chuck Towslee
Row 16: Pascal Payeur, Jocelyn Chicoine